Originally written Feb. 11, 2014
I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel to a few countries in Europe and am always so amazed by the beautiful art and architecture. The splendor of the churches there always takes my breath away. The mosaics are always the most impressive to me and I can't get over the idea of taking tiny pieces of some sort of substance to form amazing works of art that sometimes cover huge walls, entire floors or ceilings.
I have been looking at my life lately like one of those mosaics. Working through a course on discovering my identity and purpose, I have been able to start discovering the pieces of myself that I have to work with and have also been able to see that there are some pieces missing.
Looking at my life this way I have learned a few things:
1. The actual image that the mosaic is created to represent, would not make sense if some of the pieces were missing or were in the wrong place. I taught Preschool for a couple of years and one of the art projects I would have my 4-5 year olds do was a "mosaic" out of fruit loops. I would give them an outline of a picture and they were to fill in the space with the colored cereal. By the time they were done, most of the time, ok some of the time, you could tell what the picture was supposed to be. Then, by the time they gathered their things and waited in line for their parents to pick them up, the pictures started becoming a little more abstract. Somehow, the pictures started missing a few pieces as lunch time approached. I'm sure by the time they made it home, the parents had no idea what the project was at all.
It's important for us to take the time and effort to honestly study ourselves so that we know what pieces we have to work with and understand the basic outline of what our lives are to represent. We need to know what we like to do, what we are good at, what we are not so good at, what drives us, how we tend to respond to things, how we naturally behave or interpret people and experiences, what our deep values and beliefs are, etc. The Bible tells us to examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5) so that we can start to understand what pieces God gave us from the beginning.
Also, I am seeing how important it is for us to gather the missing pieces that we have given away to other people. Sometimes I think that we want to please others so much in order to find acceptance that we give parts of ourselves away. I often think of this being portrayed in the movie "Runaway Bride" when Richard Gere challenges Julia Roberts on how she likes her eggs cooked. She has always like them the way that her finance at the time liked them but didn't have a clue to how she really liked her eggs. She had given that piece away. As she started to learn about herself, her mosaic had started to take on a true form and she was able to give herself to a relationship out of this new authenticity.
2. I can't create a beautiful piece of art by myself but I can help by cooperating with the artist. My kids are all very accomplished artists but somehow the "art gene" skipped over me and went into them. I have my own areas I suppose where it comes out; as a musician, someone who can at least do limited crafts, and my love and appreciation for art, but not so much in the actual act of creating artwork that has any kind of value.
For most of my life, I have tried to create my own mosaic out of my life which hasn't really worked out so well. I wanted to have mine look like someone else's that I admired and tried to swap out my pieces for theirs'. Some of my pieces I just didn't like and wanted to hide them because they were different or for some reason I couldn't except them. Other pieces I did like but for some reason couldn't accept as belonging to me and thought for sure that the mistake would be discovered and they would be taken away.
But, all the while, the artist was at work. God says in Ephesians 2:10 that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." He has always been in the process of creating a beautiful work of art out of our lives. What He wants from us is to let Him do it and to not get in the way by trying to change up the material or to sabotage the process. If we could just trust Him and yield to His power and talent, who knows what our image could look like? I have a good idea that it would look a lot like Him, and its ok to want to look like Him!
3. We need to remember the purpose behind the piece of art God is creating through us. As I have looked at some of the incredible mosaics that I have seen, I don't necessarily marvel at the image that is portrayed, but at the artist who created the work and the meaning behind what they were trying to express.
Since, my kids are working artists and studied art in school, I have had the opportunity to attend a few art shows and museums with them. They are drawn to more abstract, contemporary art that I have to admit to not always understanding. There have been times when I have stood in front of a piece of art that consisted of a pile of trash, not knowing how to respond to the other people who are all commenting on how wonderful the piece was. They all seemed to get it and I just didn't. I wanted to and even acted like I did, making all the appropriate comments, but I really didn't get it at all. That is until I discovered the missing piece, which is the "artist statement". That changed everything. As soon as I read what the artist was depicting and how they had used the artwork to express something within themselves that was deep and meaningful, I finally got it. It all made sense to me then, and the pile of trash took on a whole new meaning.
That is what our lives are to God. We can look a little bit like a pile of trash sometimes, or maybe at least a little abstract, but He has a purpose behind the creation. He has a statement that He wants to express through us to those who see us. He has a reason for every piece in the mosaic and He wants us to let Him form it all into a piece of artwork that will take the breath away of the people that see it. Not because we are anything special in our own image, but because they will be able to marvel at the artist behind the creation. Once they get it, it can change everything.
If we discover the pieces we do have and gather up those that are missing, we can help the mosaic to depict our true image. If we don't try to sabotage God or to try to create our image the way we think we want it to look like, He will create the beautiful image that He had in mind from the beginning. And, if we remember that its not all about us, but about Him, our piece of art will have meaning. Once we get it, it can change everything.